I am proud to say I am a boy mom. I am also a proud girl mom. Being a girl mom is a bit easier for me because, well I am a girl myself and I know how I work (sometimes). I understand dressing up for your first daddy/daughter dance and making sure my hair and dress are perfect.
But my son is interested in all things boy. Weekly I would wonder why his little backpack was so heavy. When I'd go to empty it, I'd see he has collected rocks throughout his week. Why was he collecting rocks? Doesn’t he know that will weigh down his backpack? Yet in his mind, he pretends that they are his “poke balls” for catching Pokemon. His backpack is his sack that he collects them in, his trusty little imaginary Pikachu by his side. In his imaginary world, they battle through the grounds of our town catching Pokemon and staying one step ahead of the dreadful Team Rocket, for they want to steal his hard caught Pokemon. How do I even begin to understand this kid? I must take time. I must take an interest.
My son made me a mom for the first time. When we came home with him that hot summer day in September almost 9 years ago, my husband and I had no idea what we were getting into. How was I going to do this? What if I did it wrong? I know NOTHING about little boys! I may have been a tomboy as a kid, but I was still a girl, raised with my younger sister by a stay at home mom. We were Barbies and dressed up in with grandma’s costume jewelry. Boys were a mystery.
As my son grew, his interests grew. I could hardly keep up.
As my son grew, I learned that if I wanted to keep up with him and have an open dialog with him as he grew, I needed to take an interest in whatever he loved at the moment. If I didn’t show interest in him now, he would soon shut me out to his world as he grew older.
Some of these things were hard.
The game Minecraft makes no sense to me. I enjoy the occasional video game, but this game makes no sense, and it moves around too much. Yet I powered through and learned how to play the game with him. He enjoys beating me, every single time.
Like I stated earlier, my son is currently into Pokemon. I have learned this is a card game, app game, cartoon and live action movie all rolled into one. There is no possible way I can keep up with all the different Pokemon and their abilities or whatever else they can do. Still, I took time to find the rules of the game, learn it and teach him. Now we can play together. Even my daughter and husband play Pokemon Go with us, together as a family. I have taken an interest in something he enjoys. I find now that my son opens up to me more about things that are important to him. Sure, he is only 8-years-old right now so Pokemon is his world. But who knows what it will be tomorrow? When he comes up to me and says “Mom! I caught this Pokemon!” I can quickly say to him “That’s wonderful! What are his strengths?” This will get my son talking more and more. I have learned just enough to start a conversation with him, and he opens up his world to me. I have been able to learn just enough to show interest and ask questions to keep my son engaged. He now knows, that I care about him enough to learn what he loves. The door is open, and he knows his mama is someone he can talk to about anything.
Taking an interest in our kids’ lives is crucial. Know who their friends are. Know what they love and don’t love. Communicate with their teachers and coaches. Be there for them. Even if you have no interest in what they like, it’s not about the activity. It’s about taking an interest in their lives.
Before I know it, he’ll (hopefully) come talk to me about girls. Now that is something, I know plenty about.